A report being put together by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) about the immigration cap will be published some time in October. But will it include the dreaded Intra Company Transfer (ICT) loophole within its scope?
One campaigner for reform to ICTs told me today: “The MAC’s task is incedibly difficult. The government’s target, [to cut immigration], will be very hard to achieve and unless ICTs are included in the cap or the ICT numbers excluded from the immigration figures, then it will be impossible.”
I was expecting the report this month but as it is the last day I put a call in to the Home Office. A spokeswoman told me the much anticipated report will be out next month. But there was no exact date.
The report is expected to be used by the government when it devises its immigration cap which will replace the current interim one in April.
Campaigners who claim that the immigration system is abused to allow overseas IT workers into the UK want the final cap to be different to the interim one which they believe is nonsensical.
The interim cap does not include workers in the UK on ICTs, which actually account for thousands and IT workers are by far and a way the largest part of this group.
ICTs were created to allow very senior staff at large US companies to work in the UK without too many hurdles. But over time many low skilled jobs have been included and IT staff in the UK are losing their jobs to overseas workers who even come to the UK to be trained to replace UK them.
The issue was raised the other night by 5 Live investigates. Listen to the broadcast it was included on in this podcast.
It has also unearthed divisions in the coalition government with Vince Cable speaking out against the cap. The Liberals were against the cap but it survived coalition talks.
There are accusations that the ICT immigration loophole is destroying the UK IT profession, although many believe it is just changing it.
According to Sir Andrew Green of Migration Watch, while speaking at a recent Home Affairs Select Committee which discussed immigration the use of Intra Company Transfers (ICTs) to bring in workers from overseas is a major cause of the high rate of unemployment amongst computer science graduates, which is 17% for those that graduated last year.